Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
The most elegant custard. Rich, heavy cream whipped with egg yolks and crowned with caramelized brown sugar, crème brulee is the crème de la crème of custard desserts. Make it a day ahead (it must be refrigerated overnight), and serve with fresh fruit ( I love it with frosted grapes and strawberries).
- 3 cups whipping cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄3 cup light brown sugar, packed
FOR THE GRAPES
- 1 lb green seedless grape, cut into small bunches
- 2 egg whites
- granulated sugar
- 8 large strawberries, with stems on
- Day before serving, over low heat, heat heavy cream in a heavy, 2 ½ quart saucepan just until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. In double boiler top, with electric mixer at medium speed, beat yolks until very thick and light.
- Gradually beat in 1/3 cup granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until very thick—about 4 minutes. Gradually stir in cream, using wooden spoon. Cook, over hot, not boiling, water, stirring constantly, until thickened—about 15 minutes.
- Mixture should be thick enough to form a coating on a metal spoon. Add vanilla. Strain custard into attractive 9-inch shallow baking dish, 1 inch deep, or 9-inch pie plate. Or turn into 6 (1/2 cup) individual soufflé dishes. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- An hour or two before serving, set in large baking pan; surround completely with ice. Sift brown sugar through strainer evenly over surface. Run under broiler, 4 inches from heat, just until sugar melts slightly and caramelizes—it forms a hard crust.
- Refrigerate until serving. Meanwhile, prepare frosted grapes: Wash and dry bunches of grapes on paper towels. With soft brush, coat grapes with slightly beaten egg white. Quickly roll in granulated sugar to coat well. Place on rack on tray to dry.
- If necessary, roll grapes in sugar to coat once again. Place in freezer a few minutes.
- To serve: Place crème brulee on silver platter; surround with small bunches of frosted grapes, alternating with large strawberries. Makes 8 servings.
- McCall’s Cooking School.